I was speaking to a good friend of mine, Bob Flores, who is a leader in the Telecom industry. Bob educates companies on corporate leadership and specializes in building efficiencies in the Telecom industry. Bob asked me tonight what I thought the next Internet big idea was. Here’s what my thoughts were:
There’s not much money on the internet by simply building a web page. The Internet is merging with multimedia and will soon be the planet’s cable company with a billion channels. Buying an excellent domain name and building a site that brings millions is now a lot like buying a lottery ticket. It’s cheap… but chances are that you aren’t going to make your money back any time soon.
The giant companies are moving more and more into integration and syndication. Rather than pushing their site – they are making it easier for other folks to push the content. The Washington Post is even getting into the fray – opening its content to be pushed to anyone who requests it. The Web Consortium is even working to build standards around the sharing of information through the web… the Semantic Web.
What is the Semantic Web?
The Semantic Web is an advanced approach to organizing and linking information on the internet to make it more understandable and useful for both businesses and individuals. It’s like a digital librarian for the web. Instead of just displaying web pages, the Semantic Web helps computers understand the meaning of data and how it’s connected.
For a business person, this means that data and information can be structured in a way that software and services can easily find and connect relevant pieces of information. This can greatly benefit businesses by improving data integration, making it easier to find and use information, and ultimately enhancing decision-making and efficiency. In essence, the Semantic Web helps bridge the gap between the data scattered across the web, making it more valuable for businesses.
Opportunities With The Semantic Web
Here are the opportunities that I shared with Bob:
- Integration Services – SaaS is getting less and less expensive these days. Only the huge SaaS companies will be able to survive as the profit margins shrink. These companies must be able to expand exponentially and continue to build efficiencies and comprehensive Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) or content syndication (RSS). That means the real money is in integrating those services or content with other systems for custom applications.
- Topical and Regional Mashups – The strength of the internet as a global system is also a weakness. It’s easy to get lost on the net. What will become more and more popular is the use of Mashups to leverage APIs and bring several different systems into a regional or topical application.
- Retail and eCommerce Integration – this combines #1 and #2, but I genuinely see considerable opportunities to grow retail through the web. Imagine the local suit store sending you personalized messages with a coupon you can drop by the local store with. The store knows you got the offer and expects you. This is a little different than the mass communications and mass marketing efforts of companies that try to get you in the local store with a direct mail or newspaper ad. It’s local, it’s integrated, and it’s personal.
While on the phone we discussed that one of Bob’s friends is a HR VP at a major organization and she utilizes Google to do personal background checks.
How’s that for a Mashup?
Build a Mashup where I can upload a resume and have it automatically retrieve all the data it can on the individual from the web, cycling through multiple search engines, blogs, university alumni sites, criminal sites, etc. Anyone got a couple mil for us to get started?